Having come sputtering out of the All-Star break, selling before the Aug. 1 trade deadline now looks like an inevitability for the 44-46 Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Bombers, who are 9.5 games back of AL East-leading Baltimore and 5.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, will not undergo a full rebuild, reports Rosenthal. However, he notes that general manager Brian Cashman will have a chance to control this year’s trade market when he starts dealing veterans.
New York has a vast array of potential deadline movers, including superstar relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, right fielder and designated hitter Carlos Beltran, and starters CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. Of those six, only Chapman and Beltran are on expiring contracts.
Catcher Brian McCann and left fielder Brett Gardner, two other prominent Yankees veterans, make up the team’s primary leadership core and might not go anywhere as a result, per Rosenthal. McCann has a no-trade clause to boot, so he’d have the power to block any deal.
Chapman, whom the Yankees acquired from the Reds over the winter for an underwhelming package of prospects, will bring back a more valuable return if traded in the next two weeks. When the Yankees picked up Chapman from Cincinnati, he was facing troubling domestic violence allegations. That enabled the Yanks to buy low on him, but the 28-year-old served a suspension at the beginning of the season and has been his usual self on the mound since. As a pending free agent, the Yankees could trade Chapman and then try to re-sign him in the offseason, as Rosenthal notes.
Miller, who’s under team control through 2018 at $9MM per year, has been even better than Chapman. His excellent production and reasonable salary will make it tough for the Yankees to part with him.
As Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Saturday, the Pirates and Yankees have discussed a Eovaldi trade. But Pineda and Sabathia are also garnering interest out of the Yankees’ rotation. Convincing Cashman to give up Eovaldi won’t be easy, according to Rosenthal, as he’s controllable through next season. The Yankees still believe in the hard-throwing 26-year-old despite his 5.54 ERA in 91 innings as a starter this season.
As a struggling right-hander with a year of team control left, Pineda shares similarities with Eovaldi. While the 27-year-old’s ERA sits at a whopping 5.56 through 100 1/3 frames, he’s eighth among starters in K-BB percentage (21.1) and has generated ground balls at a decent clip (44.2 percent).
Sabathia has done a much better job preventing runs than Eovaldi and Pineda, having logged a respectable 3.94 ERA in 93 2/3 innings, but moving him could be difficult. For one, the 35-year-old can veto any trade because of his 10-and-5 rights. He’s also on a $25MM salary this year and has a $25MM option for 2017 that – barring a shoulder injury – will vest, and his ERA has climbed 1.74 runs since June 16.
Even if Cashman can swing a deal for Sabathia, he might instead elect to hold the southpaw and his other two scuffling starters until the offseason. The pitching market will also be weak then, and keeping the three would give them a chance to rebound and improve their respective values, writes Rosenthal.
Considering they’re likelier to buy than sell, the Yankees are entering the deadline in unfamiliar territory. New York hasn’t been in this position since Cashman took the helm in 1998 (or in the few preceding years), and although the club hasn’t been a championship contender in recent years, the executive has earned the respect of his peers.
“I actually think Cash has done a terrific job of getting younger and staying competitive,” one GM told Rosenthal.